Qatar, the only Villan in the Gulf?
dr. james kottoor We have already written an editorial: “Why punitive action against Qatar?”(CCV 12/06/2017) This article: ‘A tale of long knives, Arabian style,’ by P P Balachandran, given below for reference, doubly confirms what we said, that everything points to Saudy Arabia as the fountain head of terrorism. They with the enormous amound of money from oil wealth, it is alleged, spread ‘Wahabism’ the “worst form of militant Islam.”
Unadulterated Islam is a tolerant religion, a religion of peace, not of war and terror. Ignorant, intolerant, misguided and selfish Islamist leaders and preachers gave it a radical and fundamentalist image, a face-lift for their own vested interest of domination. Jihad for instance is a fight, a war of conquest, not for conquering others by any means, but one’s own evil tendencies of mind, heart and body. A parallel is the cross for Christians. It is not for crucifying others, but for conquering one’s sinful tendencies. It was misused to conquer others during the crusades which Christians are ashamed of recalling or discussing today.
Seven Arabian countries led by Saudi, have joined together, with the blessing of US, in accusing Qatar as promoter of terrorism and cut off diplomatic relations with it. No innocent person should be punished without proof of crime committed. No one has pointed out unassailable instances of wrong doing against Qatar. Proof is not in the majority who join together to accuse, to make noise. One witness who has seen the dastardly deed of murder ought to weigh much more than the testimony of a hundred who didn’t see it.
What is pitiable is that this is done by Muslim nations against another Muslim country smaller in size while many countries irrespective of any religious affiliation starting with the world body UN have already raised their protest against sanction against Qatar. No one will accuse UN for taking sides in a dispute. Among the accusers are also those who indulge in “double speech” who support and oppose as it suits them. For instance, the US is both the biggest investor in and beneficiary from Qatar.
Besides why did President Trump start his foreign ‘diplomatic’ tours with Saudi while the thrust of his presidential campaign was to shut off boarders to all Muslims branded as ‘terrorists’? Was it to tell them in Jidha that Islam is a great ‘faith’ or to clinche a huge business deal of selling military ‘weapons of mass destruction’? In the case of Qatar what prompted Tillerson to say that “Muslim Brotherhood” is not terrorist? To what extend the Qatar’s initiative to place order for planes from US, has influenced it to change its stance towards Muslim nations as a whole?
Global news schannel, Al Jazeera
The US, which was described as the “biggest terrorist in the world” during the Iraq war, has two of its biggest air bases in Doha and it was from Doha that the first bombing expeditions to Iraq in 2003 took off. There are ever so many beneficiaries from Qatar among the accusers of Qatar today. But the biggest contribution of Qatar, we believe, is the starting of “Al Jazeera” the global news channel.
Before its arrival, there were ony two major global news channels in English: BBC and CNN, British and American, on both sides of the Atlantic, competing to sell their version of news mostly from a “right” perspective, that is, selling news to strengthen their national interest for the most part. The BBC excels among the two for truth, balance and objectivity, even now. A great deal of American journalism today is infected by what is called “embedded” or “accredited” journalists who in Indian terminology are known as “prestitutes”, not independent writers and reporters who stand up for truth and are ready to lose their head for it.
You can’t and you don’t write against a person whom you sleep with. With the advent of Trump, we have also any number of peddlers of ‘post truth, alt truth, fake news’ etc which are what pleases the peddlers. So there was a crying need for a news channel from the Asian perspective, from the East to counterbalance news from the west. That is what “Al Jazeera” provides. Read carefully below what the writer of the article who was also an Editor in Qatar says:
9/11 defining date of terrorism
Writes Balachandran: “Interestingly, after 9/11, when the whole world was baying for Arab and Muslim blood, it was Sheikh Hamad bin Al Thani, then Emir of Qatar, who started a global news channel, Al Jazeera, to tell the world what Arabs and Muslims really thought about terrorism. “We are not all Osama bin Ladens here”, Sheikh Hamad was desperate to convince the Americans in particular and the West in general.”
As for promoting terrorism he adds: “there’s not a single soul among these countries who could throw the first stone at Qatar….. Arab history has been nothing if not a history of betrayal and backstabbing. And it was only padded up with contributions from “White Bedouins” like the British and the Americans.”
Just one more point. All what is said above should have honest applications for what is happening in India when Modi completes his three years of selling promises and prospects of “Ache din”. While saluting him for projecting a good image of India around the world what is the image he is creating at home with things like: the raid of NDTV and the ban of cow slaughter and farmers’ suicide on the rise. We hear repeatedly the complaint, that there is only one voice heard around India regularly, the weekly “Man ki bath” and one man’s impromptu orders instantly executed, like ‘demonitization’. Therefore, what we have in India is a one-man show of Modiji as it is Trump who rules root in US, it is said.
These are serious issues which those who care for a vibrant democracy in India should discuss publicly for speedy resolution. So let the discussion on diplomatic blockade of Qatar and comparative study with India, continue. There are many more provocative topics of discussion for fruitful discussion in the article below. We request our viewers to read and react constructively to the article and to our own expressed view on it. What is important is that Truth alone should be promoted and made to triumph on the arena of global visual and printed media. james kottoor, editor, ccv.
Please read critically P P Balachandran’s article below
A tale of long knives, Arabian Style!
(The writer is a senior journalist who has worked in India and the Middle East, including a stint as the editor of a newspaper in Qatar.No doubt Qatar itself is far from being the noisy democracy that we are familiar with in India or from the free societies of the West.)
Qatari premier Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al-Thani. (Photo: AFP)
Islam, they say, is a tolerant religion, but I’m not sure the same can be said for most Islamic nations or societies. How many of them would pass muster as a tolerant state that allow other denominations, specially non-Abrahamic ones?
The answer is almost none. One exception, however, is the tiny peninsula of Qatar — a rare exhibit of Islamic tolerance in the Arab world, compared to Janus-faced Saudi Arabia that spews Wahhabism, the worst form of militant Islam.
Qatar is where I spent some of my most productive years as a journalist, and I can vouch that even more so than Oman or the United Arab Emirates, the tiny emirate is a rare speck of oasis where a non-Muslim foreigner with a democratic background can feel the refreshing winds of freedom and a reassuring whiff of openness. In the rest of the Arab world, the idea of freedom and openness is a deceitful delusion, like a mirage in the desert.
No doubt Qatar itself is far from being the noisy democracy that we are familiar with in India or from the free societies of the West. But then, it’s all about shades and degrees.
The recent move by seven fellow Arab countries, apparently blessed by Washington and plotted by Saudi Arabia, to brand Qatar as a “promoter of terrorism” and to cut diplomatic ties with it was an unseemly perversion of the truth. Just look at the record of the rulers who targeted Qatar, starting with the House of Saud, the self-styled “custodian” of the Muslim holy sites. What has been its contribution to world peace? Osama bin Laden and his baby serpents? How would Egypt, the land of the ancient Pharaonic wisdom and timeless grace, account for its role in promoting, not peace, but a violent and regressive sect like the Muslim Brotherhood? Which nation does Ayman al Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden’s successor in Al Qaeda, come from? And what about that hedonistic hell called Dubai (UAE), with its menacing towers of shallow opulence and unbridled pursuit of carnal pleasure? With global terrorists like Dawood Ibrahim plying their evil trade in its cozy confines, it must take some gall for the UAE to accuse Qatar of promoting terrorism.
In short, there’s not a single soul among these countries who could throw the first stone at Qatar. Interestingly, after 9/11, when the whole world was baying for Arab and Muslim blood, it was Sheikh Hamad bin Al Thani, then Emir of Qatar, who started a global news channel, Al Jazeera, to tell the world what Arabs and Muslims really thought about terrorism. “We are not all Osama bin Ladens here”, Sheikh Hamad was desperate to convince the Americans in particular and the West in general. The Saudis, meanwhile, were busy covering their tracks and playing possum with the Bush administration.
Strangely, for all its earnest attempts at unravelling the truth about Al Qaeda and 9/11, Qatar earned the dubious title of being a “lackey of Washington”. In an ironic twist, that same “lackey of Washington” is being accused of being a promoter of terrorism. US President Donald Trump should explain how that adds up.
Right from the days when double-dealing Britain had helped the camel-riding Bedouins against the Ottomans to set up the Saudi nation, the children of Abdul Aziz Ibn al Saud, the eponymous Bedouin chief, have been enjoying the trappings of royalty, no less. But in practice, the family had remained a salivating subsidiary to the British royal family.
In fact, all through its history, the Saudis have been in their true element as the footmen of Whitehall and the White House than as the custodians of Islam. They always behaved as though they were in perpetual debt to the West, starting from a certain Colonel Thomas Edward (T.E.) Lawrence, otherwise Lawrence of Arabia, who taught them modern warfare to drive the Turks out of the desert. And they were never shy to admit it, as long as they got to retain the Arab world’s leadership!
The discovery of oil, which the Arabs first called “devil’s blood”, in the late 1930s thanks to Western oil firms, was the Cinderella moment for the Saudis. With waves of “black gold” gushing out of the desert, the idle minds of the royal brood decided on a global expansion of their brand of austere Islam called Wahhabism. While the rest of the Arabian Gulf states happily remained the vassals of the Sauds, the ruling al-Thani family of Qatar, sitting on the world’s second-largest (after Russia) gas reserves, decided to pull rank on the Saudis. The “king” was stung, and so were the vassals. Enough to let loose the dogs of war.
The vassals, like all poor vassals, forgot all the millions and billions Qatar had sent their way when they were in dire straits, like Dubai was during the 2008-09 financial crisis. Egypt and Jordan too forgot how Qatar had rushed its troops to save them against an Israeli rollover in their numerous wars.
Arab history has been nothing if not a history of betrayal and backstabbing. And it was only padded up with contributions from “White Bedouins” like the British and the Americans.
Even today, two of the biggest US military bases in West Asia are located in Doha, Qatar’s capital, in what was seen as yet another move by the al-Thanis to convince the Americans they were with Washington in fighting global terrorism. In fact, the first bombing expeditions to Iraq in 2003 took off from Doha’s Al Udeid airbase. Out of my window close to the airbase, I had then seen those roaring jets piercing through the dawn light.
Journalist Robert Fisk, one of the greatest authorities on West Asia, wrote a masterpiece on the history of the region and called it The Great War of Civilisation. Fisk said “the Middle East took several decades to reach the boiling point; and it would take several more to reach the freezing point”. And then: “It’s indeed been a long war that started far behind us and with no end in sight. But if and when it does end, this war would be remembered neither for the boom of enemy guns nor for their words, but for the silence of the friends…”. (The writer is a senior journalist who has worked in India and the Middle East, including a stint as the editor of a newspaper in Qatar)